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Walker Percy Wednesday 182

THERE ARE two interesting things about current approaches to consciousness as a subject of inquiry. One is that the two major approaches, the explanatory-psychological and the phenomenological, go their separate ways, contributing nothing to each other. They do not tend to converge upon or supplement each other as do, say, atomic theory and electromagnetic theory.…

Walker Percy Wednesday 181

THE SOURCE OF THE ANTINOMY The general source of the antinomy is not to be found, as is sometimes alleged, in the nature of the subject, man, the culture member who practices science but needs myths. Such an anthropology is in the last analysis incoherent because it requires two sorts of men, scientists who observe…

Walker Percy Wednesday 179

The Antinomy of Language Examples of the linguistic assertion S is P. Dr. ltard writes in The Savage of Aveyron that he tried to teach Victor the wild boy the word for milk, lait, as a sign of a biological need, by withholding the milk and uttering the word in its absence. This failed: After…

Walker Percy Wednesday 178

THE ANTINOMIES OF THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN ITS GRASP OF CULTURE Kant believed that when “pure reason” ventures beyond the manifold of experience, it falls into an antinomy. That is to say, equally valid trains of argument lead to contradictory conclusions. Now, apart from the truth or falsity of Kant’s argument, the fact is that…

Walker Percy, Philosopher (in press)

For Walker Percy, philosophy and fiction were both tools for diagnosing the human condition, just as his medical training had taught him about tools for diagnosing the human body. His aim was nothing less than trying to understand how we fit into the cosmos. This collection of essays is a fascinating and worthy exploration of…

Walker Percy Wednesday 177

CULTURE AS A SUBJECT OF THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD What happens when the functional method of the sciences is applied to cultural phenomena? Does culture lend itself to such an understanding? If there are difficulties in the cultural sciences, are the difficulties due to the complexity of the material, as is often alleged, or are the…

Walker Percy Wednesday 176

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SYMBOLIC ASSERTION AND A SPACE-TIME EVENT If one examines the characteristic moments of the scientific method, one will discover that they are basically assertions. Even if one happens to be an operationalist and maintains that the business of science is defining the physical operations by which concepts are arrived at and…

Walker Percy Wednesday 175

THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD issues in statements about the world. Whether one is a realist, pragmatist, operationalist, or materialist, one can hardly doubt that the various moments of the scientific enterprise–induction, hypothesis, deduction, theory, law–are all assertions of sorts. Even observation and verification are in the final analysis not the physiological happenings in which the retina…